The gay tourism industry in NZ isn’t as high profile as it is in some other developed nations, but LGBT communities are prominent in Auckland and Wellington, with myriad support organisations across both islands. New Zealand has progressive laws protecting human rights: same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples were legalised in 2013, while the legal minimum age for sex between consenting persons is 16. Generally speaking, Kiwis are fairly relaxed and accepting about gender fluidity, but that’s not to say that homophobia doesn’t exist. Rural communities tend to be more conservative; here public displays of affection should probably be avoided.
There are loads of websites dedicated to gay and lesbian travel in NZ. Gay Tourism New Zealand (www.gaytourismnewzealand.com) is a starting point, with links to various sites. Other worthwhile websites include the following:
Check out the nationwide monthly magazine express (www.gayexpress.co.nz) for the latest happenings, reviews and listings on the NZ gay scene. New Zealand Awaits (www.newzealandawaits.com) is a local operator specialising in tours serving LGBT travellers.
Festivals & Events
Auckland Pride Festival (www.aucklandpridefestival.org.nz) Two-and-a-bit weeks of rainbow-hued celebrations in February.
Big Gay Out (www.biggayout.co.nz) Part of the Auckland Pride Festival in February, this flagship day features live music and 'Mr Gay New Zealand'.
Gay Ski Week (www.gayskiweekqt.com) Annual Queenstown snow-fest in August/September.